Defensive Tactics Against Cheating


Larva Beast, Zeal

Although it is nice to assume that all people who play the game of Vanguard never cheat, this is not always the case. Some people are incentivized to win while playing this game, no matter what the cost. Although this is the case, cheating has the potential to hurt the entire community where it is taking place, at least in relation to the group’s integrity. In order to defend the game’s integrity and the community’s integrity, it is essential to know how to minimize or nullify the chance that cheating is taking place in tournament settings and beyond. How is this possible? People in other games beyond Vanguard have taken the approach to acknowledge the common methods of cheating and offering players methods to combat such cheating as a response. I think it is time we did the same for the Cardfight!! Vanguard community.

Important In-Tournament Tips From the Floor Rules

With that in mind, here are some tips to combating potential cheating while in the midst of tournament play originating from the Cardfight!! Vanguard Floor Rules.

Note: When the below bullet points mention judge, it can also be synonymous with the organizer of the tournament or the staff of a shop. This is justified through Cardfight!! Vanguard Floor Rules Section 3 and Section 4.

Disclaimer: There may be methods of cheating mentioned in this article. Although this is the case, Cardfight Lab Tech and its writers do not advocate cheating in any way, shape, or form.

  • Require opaque sleeves from your opponent. Cardfight!! Vanguard Section 201.1 requires players to have opaque sleeves on their cards in order to be tournament legal. In the event that the opponent does not have opaque sleeves on his or her cards, ask the opponent to re-sleeve his or her deck in opaque sleeves. In addition to this, transparent or translucent sleeves are known for use for marking cards in some games*, which is probably why this rule has been implemented. If the opponent does not comply, do not hesitate to call a judge over to resolve the situation.
  • Politely ask the opponent to pick up the pace of play if playing slowly.** This suggestion came from players who play the Pokemon Trading Card Game, but it is also applicable here. According to Cardfight!! Vanguard Floor Rules Section 309.8, all players need to play at a proper pace, which should allow the players to finish their games in the appropriate amount of time. In this case, politely ask slow players to pick of the pace of their game play. If the player seems to be intentionally stalling, call a judge over to handle the situation, since intentional stalling falls under another section (specifically, Section 403).
  • Have a judge shuffle extra cards drawn illegally into the deck. According to Cardfight!! Vanguard Floor Rules Section 304.4, any cards from the deck that have touched cards in a player’s hand are considered drawn. For level 1 events (aka local shop tournaments), there are two courses of action in this event. If both players can agree on which extra card was drawn, the judge can put the extra card(s) on the top of the deck and shuffle. If both players cannot agree on which extra card was drawn and the judge deems it as unintentional, the judge can choose randomly from the hand in question the amount of extra cards drawn and shuffle it into the deck.
  • Keep track of the amount of cards in the opponent’s hand. Keeping track of how many cards are in the opponent’s hand normally can determine if the opponent has the correct amount of cards in his or her hand. In addition to helping the player track the opponent’s hand for strategic purposes (like described in this article), this helps the player determine if the opponent is drawing the correct amount of cards in hand each turn.
  • Call judges over to your game if there are any ruling questions. This is one of your rights as a player according to Cardfight!! Vanguard Floor Rules Section 102.2. This tip is to remind you of this right and to suggest this so that all in-game events and effects are clear to both players (especially in the event of a disagreement).

“Played Slowly” vs “Stalling”, And Long Games

There is an important distinction in the rules that should be noted here that many players should know. Specifically, this is the distinction between “played slow” and “stalling”. Playing too slow and stalling are both considered slow play, but playing too slow and stalling are punished differently (with a warning and a disqualification respectively). Here is each term in its respective section in the Cardfight!! Vanguard Floor Rules:

309.8. Played Slowly

ex. Took too much time to shuffle his or her deck.
ex. Left the table without noticing judges or officials. All players need to play in a proper pace.

All players need to finish the match within the proper time. A player intentionally slowing the game down will fall under a different section.

Default Penalty: Warning
In a level 1 tournament, if the judge thinks it was just a careless mistake, he or she can downgrade the penalty to a caution.

403. Stalling
ex. Pretended to think for a long time even though
all cards in hand were unplayable.

Any actions to waste time to gain an advantage on
purpose fall under this section.

The key difference between the two terms in the rules is that playing slowly comes whether the player is slowing the game on purpose or not. Playing slowly in Section 309.8 seems to refer to slow play due to inexperience with handling cards or some other legitimate reason. Stalling is when the opponent is purposely slowing the game down, as explained in Section 403.

At this point, some may be wondering if long games would fall under either of these categories. On the one hand, is it possible that longer games are caused by either of these actions described above. On the other hand, there are some situations in the game that require the player to resolve multiple effects that takes a considerable amount of time to walk through the effect resolution legally compared to other effects. This is an example of a cause of a longer game that is perfectly legal. Differentiating between stalling, unintentional slow play, or long games depends on the situation and should be approached with common sense and patience.


One of the most notorious things to face is a person who stacks his or her cards. Spotting someone stacking is difficult at times, due to the fact that there are many ways to stack the deck in. Although this is the case, there are several tips that help in detecting and dealing with potential stacking.

Note: When the below bullet points mention judge, it can also be synonymous with the organizer of the tournament or the staff of a shop. This is justified through Cardfight!! Vanguard Floor Rules Section 3 and Section 4.

  • Watch your opponent’s eyes. Most of the stacking cheats seem to originate from sleight of hand magic tricks, which rely on the one using them to look at their cards to manipulate the deck. If the opponent looks at their deck while they are shuffling (especially in the event that the opponent is using a shuffle like the overhand shuffle***), it might be a sign that he or she is cheating.
  • Always cut or shuffle the deck when given the opportunity. This tip typically protects the player from stacking methods that allow the top card(s) to be predetermined. According to Cardfight!! Vanguard Floor Rules Section 202, each player must offer the opposing player the chance to cut or shuffle the deck once the player has shuffled it himself or herself. If the opponent refuses offer a cut or shuffle after he or she has shuffled, this is in clear opposition to Section 202, and a judge should be called over to dissolve the situation.
  • Call a judge when you reasonably suspect stacking. This is the safest call on dealing with potential stacking in an official tournament setting. Instead of cutting or shuffling the deck, you can either call a judge over to shuffle the deck for the opponent in order to ensure that it is officially randomized (according to Cardfight!! Vanguard Floor Rules Section 202). Only call a judge for the purpose of reshuffling the deck for this purpose if you suspect that the opponent is not sufficiently randomizing his or her deck.

Ending Remarks And Clarifications

Overall, the majority of games do not seem to involve cheating. Although this is the case, the tips above are meant to be used as a way to provide some protection to the typical player from cheating or infringements of the rules. Although these points have been brought up, this article does not condone cheating in anyway.

Clarifications and sources are provided in the footnotes of this article. In addition to this, here are the links to Cardfight!! Vanguard Floor RulesCardfight!! Vanguard G Standard Rule Book, and Cardfight!! Vanguard Comprehensive Rules. These links are provided to allow the general player to find out the correct rules and restrictions.

This article has been provided to help the community ensure the integrity of this game, the related tournaments, and the community as a whole from those who would try to win the game by unfair means not allowed by the rules of the game. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section.



***To clarify, the overhand shuffle is a completely legitimate way to randomize decks during shuffling. Although this is the case, the shuffle can be used to stack since the opponent is able to view cards in the deck while shuffling if the deck is angled in a certain way. This same logic can be applied to side shuffling, which can be described at this link:

Images of cards came from!!_Vanguard_Wiki. These images may have been re-sized.

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